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Chapter

This chapter examines the nature of international organizations and their role in global politics. It first explains what an international organization is before discussing the rise of international organizations from a historical perspective, focusing on developments from the nineteenth century onwards. It then considers the major intergovernmental institutions that emerged in the twentieth century and which have made significant contributions in shaping the global order, including the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations. It also looks at non-governmental organizations and concludes with an analysis of ideas about social movements and global civil society, along with their relationship to the contemporary world of international organizations.

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This chapter examines the ways in which governance and organizations influence global politics. It first provides an overview of what an international organization is, focusing on intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, before discussing the rise of organizations in the global sphere from the nineteenth century onwards. It then takes a look at the major intergovernmental institutions that emerged in the twentieth century and which have played a major role in shaping global order, including the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations (UN). The chapter concludes with an analysis of ideas about social movements and civil society, along with their relationship to contemporary governance and organizations.

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This chapter analyses the dynamics of humanitarian intervention and peace operations. It begins with a discussion of the changing nature of peacekeeping since the cold war and how peacekeeping expanded in the post-cold war period, creating demand, opportunities, and incentives for intervention that resulted in an unprecedented increase in the number and scale of military interventions by United Nations forces. Today, humanitarian interventions are larger, more complex affairs. The chapter goes on to examine how post-cold war operations shaped peacekeeping debates, peacekeeping since 2000, the benefts and challenges of the regionalization of peacekeeping, and evolving norms in contemporary peacekeeping. It also considers the politics of humanitarian intervention, especially at the UN Security Council, and how public opinion of humanitarian intervention is shaped by media coverage and casualties. Finally, it describes the military character of peace operations as well as problems and prospects surrounding humanitarian intervention and peace operations.

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This chapter examines the ramifications of genocide for human rights. Genocide is one of the most extreme forms of human rights violations, but its definition has been the subject of considerable debate. In recent years, there have been efforts to develop a better policy on genocide prevention. This chapter evaluates various definitions of genocide as well as some of the weak points of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, also known as the Genocide Convention. It also discusses theories of why genocide occurs and concludes with case studies of Rwanda and Darfur, both of which describe the background to the mass violence in both locations, as well as the international responses.

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1. Introduction  

What is international law and why does it matter for international relations?

This introductory chapter provides an overview and a brief history of international law. Why should students of international relations be interested in international law? International politics and international law are so closely intertwined that one cannot be understood without understanding the other. The United Nations describes international law as ‘the legal responsibilities of States in their conduct with each other, and their treatment of individuals within State boundaries’. Just as domestic law frames a political community and regulates relations among its members, international law helps to frame international society, to signal its core values, and to regulate relations among states and other actors. The chapter then considers two philosophical traditions that have shaped the study and practice of international law over the past four centuries: natural law and legal positivism.

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This chapter analyses the dynamics of humanitarian intervention and peace operations. It begins with a discussion of the changing nature of peacekeeping since the cold war and how peacekeeping expanded in the post-cold war period, creating demand, opportunities, and incentives for intervention that resulted in an unprecedented increase in the number and scale of military interventions by United Nations forces. Today, humanitarian interventions are larger, more complex affairs. The chapter goes on to examine how post-cold war operations shaped peacekeeping debates; peacekeeping since 2000; the benefits and challenges of the regionalization of peacekeeping; and evolving norms in contemporary peacekeeping. It also considers the politics of humanitarian intervention, especially at the UN Security Council, and how public opinion of humanitarian intervention is shaped by media coverage and casualties. Finally, it describes the military character of peace operations as well as problems and prospects surrounding humanitarian intervention and peace operations.

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This chapter examines the international legal context of human rights. It first considers the historical evolution of international human rights law, with particular emphasis on the reincarnation of philosophical ideals as international laws (treaties), before discussing the principal sources of international human rights law such as customary international law and ‘soft’ law. It then describes the various forms of expressing human rights, along with the core international human rights instruments. It also explores the mechanisms for monitoring and enforcing human rights, including the United Nations system, regional human rights systems, and national human rights systems. Finally, it explains the process followed for a state wishing to be bound to the provisions of a treaty and the benefits of listing human rights in treaties.

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This chapter addresses the nature of international organizations and how they are generally theorized as participants in global politics and then reviews the rise of international organizations from a historical perspective, with particular reference to developments from the nineteenth century onwards. It also discusses the major intergovernmental institutions that emerged in the twentieth century and which have played such an important role in shaping global order. The chapter briefly looks at the League of Nations but most attention is given to its successor, the United Nations (UN), and its various appendages. It then examines the world of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Some of these NGOs possess significant status in the global sphere, others have little relevance, and still others pose dangers. Finally, the chapter considers social movements and their relationship to the contemporary world of international organizations along with the idea of global civil society. In reviewing these institutions, actors, and ideas, we should keep in mind that liberal international theory, especially in the form of liberal institutionalism, as well as proponents of international society, regard robust international organizations as essential building blocks of global order.

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This edition provides an account of contemporary U.S. foreign policy. There are at least five broad themes that inform the text. The first is the importance of the past for understanding the present. The second concerns the complex relationship between foreign policy and America’s longer-term goals and interests. Policy makers have assumed that the international order that would best advance American interests would be composed primarily of democratic states, open markets, and self-determining nations. The third theme is the importance of the ‘domestic’ in shaping U.S. foreign policy choices, including factors such as interest groups, the role of institutions, and the power of ideas. The fourth theme relates to the issue of perspective or ‘balance’, and the fifth and final theme refers to the fact that whatever one might think of the United States past, present, or future, it is simply too important to be ignored.

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J. Ann Tickner and Laura Sjoberg

This chapter examines feminist perspectives on international relations. It first provides a historical background on the development of feminist IR, paying attention to different kinds of feminist analyses of gender. It then considers feminist perspectives on international security and global politics, along with developments in feminist reanalyses and reformulations of security theory. It illustrates feminist security theory by analysing the case of the United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iraq following the First Gulf War. The chapter concludes by assessing the contributions that feminist IR can make to the practice of world politics in general and to the discipline of IR in particular.

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Devon E. A. Curtis and Paul Taylor

This chapter examines the development of the United Nations and the changes and challenges that it has faced since it was founded in 1945. It opens with three framing questions: Does the UN succeed in reconciling traditions of great power politics and traditions of universalism? Why has the UN become more involved in matters within states and what are the limits to this involvement? What are the UN's biggest successes and challenges in its efforts to prevent and resolve conflict and to promote sustainable development? The chapter proceeds by providing a brief history of the UN and its principal organs. It also considers the UN's role in the maintenance of international peace and security, and how the UN addresses issues relating to economic and social development. Two case studies are presented: the first is about UN peacekeeping in the Congo and the second is about the 2003 intervention in Iraq.

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This chapter examines the role of developing countries in international politics. International relations, as a discipline, has traditionally overlooked the significance of the developing world in global politics. The chapter begins by discussing the reasons for this and why such an oversight is lamentable. It then considers the position of the developing world throughout the large structural changes that have occurred in the international system since 1945: North–South relations during and after the Cold War and the emerging multipolar world, in which China is anticipated to return to the centre of international politics. The chapter also explores topics such as the United Nations’s involvement in development issues and its role in decolonization, U.S. foreign policy under the two Obama administrations, and nuclear proliferation.

Chapter

Tom Campbell

This chapter focuses on human rights. Human rights are derived historically from the idea of natural law as it developed on a strong religious basis in late medieval Europe and, later, in a more secularized form during the more rationalist period of the Enlightenment. Meanwhile, the contemporary human rights movement stems from the aftermath of World War II. It is associated, domestically, with constitutional bills of rights and, internationally, with the work of the United Nations. Human rights may be defined as universal rights of great moral and political significance that belong to all human beings by virtue of their humanity. They are said to be overriding and absolute. Human rights may be divided into three overlapping groups: civil and political rights; economic, social, and cultural rights; and group or collective rights for development and self-determination.

Chapter

Alan J. Kuperman

This chapter examines humanitarian intervention and its relationship to the promotion of human rights. It first traces the evolution of humanitarian intervention, especially in the wake of the Second World War and the Cold War, to include military force and the violation of traditional norms of neutrality and state sovereignty. It then describes some obstacles to effective intervention, including the speed of violence, logistical hurdles to military deployment, and lack of political will. It also discusses unintended consequences, such as how the ‘moral hazard’ of humanitarian intervention may inadvertently trigger and perpetuate civil conflict, thus exacerbating civilian suffering. Many of these concepts are illustrated with a detailed case study of humanitarian intervention in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 by the United States, European Community, United Nations, and NATO. The chapter concludes with recommendations to improve humanitarian intervention and to reconcile it with the promotion of human rights.

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J. Ann Tickner and Laura Sjoberg

This chapter examines feminist perspectives on international relations. It first provides a historical background on the development of feminist IR, paying attention to feminist analyses of gender, before outlining a typology of feminist international relations, namely: liberal feminism, critical feminism, feminist constructivism, feminist poststructuralism, and postcolonial feminism. It then considers feminist perspectives on international security and global politics, along with developments in feminist reanalyses and reformulations of security theory. It illustrates feminist security theory by analysing the case of the United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iraq following the First Gulf War. The chapter concludes by assessing the contributions that feminist IR can make to the practice of world politics in general and to the discipline of IR in particular.

Chapter

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter examines traditional concepts of security and insecurity in the realm of international politics. It first considers Thomas Hobbes’s account of the state of nature and the emergence of the power politics approach to security as worked out by Hans Morgenthau and his successors. It then discusses the evolution of security thinking through to the end of the Cold War, ideas about collective security as embodied in the United Nations and the nature of security cooperation in Europe through NATO. It also explores some pressing security challenges in the post-Cold War period and the broadening of the security agenda to encompass more recent concerns ranging from environmental security to energy security and the notions of ‘human security’ and ‘responsibility to protect’. Finally, it analyses the ‘global war on terror’ and especially how the 9/11 attacks affected the discourse on security and insecurity.

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This chapter evaluates global governance and how it relates to international law. It addresses the role of international organizations in processes of global governance, charting their rise from the nineteenth century onwards. Two international organizations exemplify semi-legalized governance beyond the state: the United Nations and the European Union. Sovereign states, of course, continue to play a central role in the institutions, processes, and mechanisms of global governance. The chapter then explores the extent to which a state’s power, influence, and legitimacy are affected by factors such as its domestic political arrangements and its adherence to the liberal, Western values that underpin the postwar order. It also assesses whether the proliferation of legalized and semi-legalized global governance regimes amounts to a constitutionalization of international relations.

Chapter

This chapter examines issues surrounding the human rights of Indigenous peoples. The conceptual framework for this chapter is informed by three broad, interrelated, and interdependent types of human rights: the right to existence, the right to self-determination, and individual human rights. After describing who Indigenous peoples are according to international law, the chapter considers the centuries of ambivalence about the recognition of Indigenous peoples. It then discusses the United Nations's establishment of a regime for Indigenous group rights and presents a case study of the impact of climate change on Indigenous peoples. It concludes with a reflection on the possibility of accommodating Indigenous peoples' self-determination with state sovereignty.